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Braised celery and broccoli (calabrese) recipe

Photo: Braised celery and broccoli

Photo: Braised celery and broccoli

The benefits of celery are enormous. Celery is thought to possibly reduce blood pressure, help combat cholesterol and even cancer. Leving these aside, braised celery can be a superb and delicious vegetable. This recipe makes it easy to include in any well balanced diet. I’m always attracted to the heads of celery in the supermarket and often eat celery and carrot sticks with hummus for a lunch time snack.

In the past D would welcome a bowl of winter celery soup and that was it. He woud never, ever ask for celery as a veggie with his roast beef. But who would? Recently we have become addicted to Jo’s recipe for braised celery. This is not the floppy sticks of braised celery that used to be produced to accompany the Sunday roast when I was a child. This recipe produces celery chunks with a bit of crunch and loads of flavour. A vegetable with real attitude. We retain the celery juice to add to stews and casseroles and fight over any second helpings. Danny is bemused as this is the first time that I have ever challenged him for seconds on the vegetable front.

Last week I added some ordinary broccoli (calabrese) for the last five minutes. It worked very well. The calabrese was infused with the vegetable celery stock flavour yet its sweet taste came through. Tonight Danny insisted on the same again. Questioned carefully he came up with this excuse.
“You need to be scientific about the amounts and timings. I want to be able to replicate the recipe at any time and not have to wheel you up to the stove.”
Oh yeah!

I have served braised celery with ham in parsley sauce, cottage pie, Sunday roast pork, chicken and steak. Every time it has been met with rapturous applause. But the broccoli and celery combination has turned out to be an Olympian leap. A great way of making both these vegetables really shine. I’m not keen on veg per se and generally force them down. But I loved this combination. This could be the answer to encouraging non veg  lover back from the brink.

So here’s the recipe with Danny’s scientific amounts and timings.

Braised celery and broccoli (calabrese) recipe (for four)

Ingredients:

  • 300g of celery. Washed, destrung and chopped diagonally
  • 150g of broccoli cut into florets with all stems a similar thickness (1cm) so they cook at the same rate (calabrese, not the purple or white sprouting sort)
  • 30g of butter
  • Half a pint of vegetable stock. (We make this with 1 tsp of vegetable stock powder). You need to cover the celery chunks so top up if necessary.
  • If you have celery leaves, chop them very fine for a garnish. Otherwise use some chopped parsley.

Method:

  1. Wash the celery well. De-string and cut diagonally in 2 centimetre slices.
  2. Over a low heat melt the butter and add the celery chunks. Let the butter and celery infuse for about 8 minutes. Meanwhile wash and prepare your broccoli. All the stalks need to be approximately the same thickness. Roughly a centimetre for each stalk.
  3. Add the boiling stock to the celery, bring to simmering point and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add the broccoli pressing the stalks down into the stock. Cover the saucepan so that the heads can steam as the stalks soften. Leave to simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Test the broccoli stalks for softness and if cooked remove the celery and broccoli with a slotted spoon and garnish with chopped celery leaves or parsley.

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12 Comments

  1. Fiona – if you email me your address i’ll pop some seeds into the post to you… 🙂

    keth
    xx

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Belinda

    That’s a great tip to freeze celery in zip lock bags for future stews and casseroles. Thanks.

    Hi S.O.L.

    I tried to grow celery without success. I actually planted small plantlets but they were a disaster and didn’t thrive. Don’t know what went wrong.

    Your good vibes made all the difference to Jalopy. She passed!!!

    Hi Kethry

    This is a great tip! I haven’t heard of this and would be really interested in giving it a go as we make a lot of recipes that need celery to round off the flavours

    Hi Jo

    I reckon that Tony will eat this combination. The calabrese is transformed.

    Hello Sylvie

    This braised celery is delicious and miles away from the taste of raw celery which can be a bit bracing ?

    Hi KarenO

    Good point. I think that steaming might be the answer at it intensifies flavours. I have recently fallen deeply in love with Cavolo Nero!

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